Fans and showbiz insiders alike have been left scratching their heads at the cancellation of Batgirl, reportedly while the film was in its final stages of post production. Understandably, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Falla are as “saddened and shocked by the news” as anyone.
“We still can’t believe it,” the duo wrote in a post shared to Instagram. “As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
The Ms. Marvel directors went on to thank the “amazing cast and crew,” including Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, and star Leslie Grace, “who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity.” The post continues, “In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl For Life.”
Initial reports suggested that the film was “irredeemable” (which might be why the filmmakers stressed that the movie hadn’t yet been finished). The narrative that eventually emerged, though, had more to do with the mess of the Warner Bros./Discovery merger. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a WB spokesperson claimed the move reflected “leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” adding that “we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
It seems doubtful that El Arbi and Falla will want to get back into bed with WB Discovery “in the near future” after being burned this badly. The news was rumored to have broken during El Arbi’s wedding; indeed, he commented on his Instagram statement that he was now “gonna try to enjoy [his] honeymoon.” The callous treatment seems enough to give any filmmaker pause about working with the company, but particularly about dipping their toes into the shambles of the DCEU.